In the Gospel of Matthew (cf. Mt 28:1-10), the Risen Jesus sends his disciples to Galilee, to meet him there. In that Galilee, the disciples will experience and find the risen Christ. Galilee has a profound meaning here. It is the place of the call, of the first follow-up (of the “first love”). There the disciples were called, they lived with Jesus, they received the mission to the evangelical service.
To return to Galilee, the place of the pre-Easter follow-up, means to take up the story of Jesus, converting it into a new start and a new sense of life. The disciples are called to return to the “first love,” resuming and remaking the path of Jesus.
In addition, Galilee is also called the Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who lived in the darkness of death. It is the land of the poor, of the marginalized, a region of great commercial movement. It was on the margins of Jewish traditions and beyond the control of official Judaism. To be a Galilean was to be a religiously marginalized Jew. Therefore, Jesus’ salvation comes from grace, from gift, not from merit, from official Judaism or religious traditions. New life comes from the margin, comes from the poor. On the contrary, Jerusalem, place of power, of the temple and of official worship, is the place of the “empty sepulcher”: “He is risen, he is not here!”. Jerusalem is the place of religious emptiness, while Galilee is the place of the manifestation of the new life and of the risen Christ.
Jesus points Galilee as the place of first love, from where the disciples must resume their follow-up and bear witness to the salvation conquered by the cross.
The Vincentians are invited to seek “Galilee,” guided by the Word of God, being passionate about their vocation and committing themselves together, in the different branches of the Vincentian Family, responding to the calls that come from the reality of the Poor.
As heirs of the testimony of Saint Vincent, Saint Louise, Blessed Frederic Ozanam and many others, we Vincentians are invited to live the experience of the Risen Christ in Galilee, where the aggrieved and marginalized are found. There we will find our teachers and masters, true paschal experience that revitalizes the mission of the Vincentian Family! The Galilee of the Poor: Mission that revitalizes the Vincentian Vocation!
Fr. Alexande Nahass Franco, CM
Spiritual Advisor of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul National Council of Brazil